I had ordered Seduction: A History from the Enlightenment to the Present (2020) just before the coronavirus closed the Libraries in our area. This week, the City of Tonawanda Library opened (minus most of their furniture to allow safe distancing) and I picked up this RESERVE that had been waiting for me for months. Clement Knox presents the subject of seduction within the cultures and the social changes where it flourished. England was known for its “Rake Culture” where men seduced women, mostly by promising to marry them…and then leaving town.
My favorite chapter revolves around Samuel Richardson and his classic 1000+ page novel, Clarissa. I read Clarissa in one of my doctoral seminars and loved it. Clarissa is a pure woman tormented by a rake and betrayed by her parents who promote the relationship. Clement Knox also explores the wild life of Merry Shelly and her group.
Clement Knox concludes his study with references to James Bond (skilled at seduction) and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Dracula uses hypnosis to seduce women and suck their blood…and other things. Finally, Knox admits that the Tinder online culture feeds an explosion of seduction on the Internet. If you’re interested in seduction, this is the book for you. GRADE: B+
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
INTRODUCTION — 1
CHAPTER ONE: Rake culture — 13
CHAPTER TWO: The transit of Venus — 80
CHAPTER THREE: An unsentimental education — 143
CHAPTER FOUR: Circling Mary Shelley — 197
CHAPTER FIVE: Of Mann and men — 251
CHAPTER SIX: Blood out — 320
CHAPTER SEVEN: Seduction remains — 374
Afterword — 418
Acknowledgements — 433
Endnotes — 434
Index — 473